He cheated on her prolifically. “Basta! You’re going to live in the casita now,” she told him. She bought him the bed you see here, and he began sleeping in a shed in the backyard.
He bought himself an iPhone.
If she hoped banishing him from the bedroom would chastise him, constructively, it only served to redouble his excursions on social media.
He concocted extravagant, multi-tiered lies, telling her he was going out of town on business, calling out at work due to the “flu”, and then would spend the next two days at the Lucky 777 motel on Sepulveda Blvd, carrying on with women who travelled to LA to meet him.
A woman he once knew from the same village in Guatemala, re-met him online and started visiting from Atlanta. She got breast implants for him.
“I think I’m love” he told me, while we stood in line at Lowes. I was his confessor.
A couple months later, he loaded his belongings into a truck and moved out in the middle of the afternoon with Paul Simon-esque alacrity. This shocked everyone, including myself.
For weeks, while he and his paramour hid out with relatives and rented rooms around the Valley, she stalked him. She called down all manner of wrath upon the puta, the hooker, the witch, for snatching him away. Normally a reticent woman, she clutched the fence between our yards and wailed in tearful stream-of-consciousness.
When she finally caught up with them, parked outside her adult daughters house, she pinned the other woman’s car with her own. They drove through the front yard to escape her. A high-speed pursuit ensued across the valley, lasting over two hours and involving the family entire: she chasing them, the children chasing her in their respective cars, lest she take take vengeance with her own steering wheel. Eventually he called the police on himself, and the five car telenovela-meets-Dukes of Hazzard chase was brought to halt in a gas station in Reseda.
He moved into a small apartment with his paramour. His wife started going to church.
Eventually she stopped crying about him when I saw her. We started doing yard work together, she and I, just as he and I once did, when I lived vicariously though his tales.
When last I saw him, at the gym, he told me his paramour had been t-boned on the freeway, and was bed-ridden and on painkillers. For the time being, he was taking care of her. He was also back to doing janitorial work to pay rent, which is how he started out in LA, in an earlier century. I didn’t ask him if he regretted his choices.
This week a FedEx van delivered “the papers”, finalizing the divorce. The house was now hers. Yesterday, I helped her carry his old bed out on to the sidewalk for bulky item pickup. She’d kept it for three-and-a-half years. I didn’t question why.